We stand against assisted suicide!

“It appears that the electorate doesn’t care that much about it, no matter what the polling says.”
 – spokesperson for assisted suicide group in Connecticut, January 2015

It’s about radical autonomy, not pain.

The top reasons for a deadly prescription in Oregon is fear of losing autonomy (91.5%), of being less able to engage in activities (88.7%) and loss of dignity (79.3%). Assisted suicide is not really about pain, it is about fear of becoming dependent on others. That “choice” is no reason to endanger vulnerable people who will be pressured with a duty to die or open obvious pathways for abuse, neglect and abandonment of our elderly. We can do better in Connecticut with compassionate choices – such as expanded options for early hospice care, a “right to try” bill, training for doctors in cutting edge pain management and increased funding for home health care. In addition to all this, legalizing assisted suicide laws must be one of the worst solutions to aid people near the end of life. It would only be accessible for privileged people who can plan and navigate the necessary hurdles of waiting periods, second opinions, witnesses and more. Hundreds and thousands more Connecticut residents would truly be served if the state stayed focused on care, not killing.

It will be expanded.

In the spring of 2014, the Los Angeles Times editorialized that their state should adopt an assisted suicide law and extend it to children. At a Compassion & Choices’ press conference at the Connecticut State Capitol Building in February 2013, one of the speakers advocated extending any future Connecticut “aid in dying” law to the mentally incompetent. At a 2014 event in Hartford, Compassion & Choices President, Barbara Coombs Lee stated with regard to including people with dementia and cognitive declines, stated “It is an issue for another day but is no less compelling”. These and other statements indicate a broader agenda.

Assisted Suicide promotes the bigotry of ageism and ableism

The Family Institute of Connecticut is proud to work to oppose assisted suicide with so many diverse organizations. We have learned from them how assisted suicide is fed by ableism and ageism. To learn more about why assisted suicide is opposed by these organizations, we recommend the blogs of Not Dead Yet and Choice is An Illusion and the website for Patients’ Rights Action Fund.

Why Assisted Suicide Must Not Be Legalized 

There are alternatives to assisted suicide

If the proponents of assisted suicide want our legislature to really tackle pain and comfort at the end of life, we suggest their money would be better spent introducing measures at the legislature such as increasing access to and awareness of palliative care, increasing the number of licensed nursing aids (and also increasing jobs), and better access to earlier hospice care. These bills would not be “emotional” and would be welcomed by all legislators who want to bring more comfort and dignity to people and their caregivers. And as a result, many more people would receive truly compassionate end of life care.

Connecticut ranks low on access to high quality home health care.

Connecticut ranks last in the country for length of stay for hospice care.

In 2014, the legislature passed a bill to investigate the use of Medical Orders regarding Life Sustaining Treatment or “MOLST” forms. These forms provide important information to health care providers and hospital employees about the treatment wishes of patients. Striking a balance of patient autonomy with proper treatment. The CT MOLST is a pilot program that we continue to monitor.

There has been abuse.

Advocates of assisted suicide assert that there has never been one case of abuse related to laws legalizing assisted suicide. Setting aside the inherent flaw of making such a broad assertion about a program designed and implemented by human beings, with a program as complicated and dangerous as assisted suicide, that claim is simply not supported by the facts.  For a list of abuse cases that were uncovered through media reports visit http://dredf.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/18_Oregon_abuses.pdf.

Official reports not reliable. The official reports generated by the state of Oregon rely on self-reporting by doctors who are ideologically devoted to the success of assisted suicide. The Health Department for the state of Oregon has officially stated any report submitted by a physician “could have been a cock-and-bull story” and therefore their official reports generated by the state of Oregon cannot be used to “detect or accurately comment on issues that may be under reported.” They may not be used to fairly base a claim of no abuse or misuse.

There are many reports of abuse and misuse reported by the media and victims.

Thomas Middleton was a victim.

This doctor could not protect his patient from assisted suicide in Oregon.

Proponents have lost momentum.

After spending over $425,000 in two years, the out-of-state lobbying group that agitates for assisted suicide laws in Connecticut has had their discussion and lost repeatedly.  In court, in 2009, 2013 and again in 2014 by failing to even have their bill scheduled for a vote in the Public Health Committee.  Connecticut residents like Maggie KarnerCathy Ludlum and Elaine Kolb oppose assisted suicide and have publicly rebuked these bills and repeated attempts to pass it in Connecticut.  In fact, Compassion & Choices has dramatically decreased their level of spending in Connecticut in 2015 showing that the issue has failed in this state despite their enormous effort.  Their spokesperson declared in a January 6, 2015 interview that “It appears that the electorate doesn’t care that much about it, no matter what the polling says.”   The Connecticut electorate knows they would be better served by expanded access to early palliative and hospice care, increased funding for home health care workers and mandatory training for pain management techniques for medical students.  These would be ways to help hundreds and thousands of Connecticut residents in ways that laws permitting assisted suicide cannot.

Learn more here.